RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat says "No one is high or low. What the pandits say based on shastras, is a lie. We have become deluded by getting trapped in the idea of caste superiority and caste hierarchy. This delusion must be eradicated. Our knowledge and tradition don't say this and we should convey that to society."
Social discrimination and exclusion are horrific sides of the Indian Caste System. Where Syeds and Brahmins not only positioned at the top as the ultimate protector of the spiritual world but also they are signified as the holiest creatures in the system of graded inequality using the knowledge capital. This makes Syeds/Brahmins to be recognised as better than other castes inherently, supporting the idea of divine favouritism.
Interestingly, anybody who agrees supports, and justifies this caste discrimination based on birth is also a Syedwadi and Brahmanwadi, despite his caste, gender, and sect. However, no Syed has used the word Syedism. We also see that many Pasmanda activists are afraid to use the word Syedwaad but this is the beauty of Hinduism that people of all castes of this religion can speak loudly against the evil practices of religion.
In Muslim society, such outspokenness can lead to one's murder. The killing in the name of blasphemy in Pakistan and Bangladesh are examples of this.
Ambedkar has proved in his writings how Brahmins have made this caste system a forever phenomenon by the prohibition of inter-caste marriage. The theory of 'Kufu' explains the exact formulation of caste-bound marriage in Muslim society. 'Kufu' is a tool for casteist Ulema to legalize racism/nepotism under Islamic code of conduct. Even The official website of the Deobandi (Hanafi) Madrasa propagates these ideas- An Arab is better than a non-arab, Syeds-Shaikhs are better than Ansari-darzi-dhobi, original Muslims are better than converted Muslims, etc. Muslim personal law board doesn't approve such wedding unions which don't follow 'kufu' norms and adjudge them as invalid.
Ashraf ulema build the false narrative of divine position by connecting themselves with the Prophet. They cooked up stories in the name of heavenly pleasures by devoting themselves in the service of Syeds, one such belief is - it's not the test of Syed who is living a life of destitute but it's our duty to pass the test by taking that Syed out of his misery. One must be aware that 'Hadith' had been compiled for hundreds of years of the death of the prophet. This was an era in which Shiya and Sunni were striving against each other for power. When it is propounded that only Quraysh can be the Khalifa then the basic notion underneath this projection is to give divine rights of the ruling to only tribe/caste (i.e. Quraysh) based on their birthright. Divine kingship or zjille-e-ilahi is a concept under which the king is representing God and his authority can not be challenged. Now with the emergence of this concept a common Muslim could not even think to question 'hadith' and its contradictory nature of inequality from the basic principle of Islam i.e. Masawat (equality). Islam propagates- 'there is no dynastic tradition in Islam', then how did this striking feature of lineage tradition get roots in Islam? Nobody took the courage to question this unfair and un-Islamic tradition. Why does only Ashrafs get the chance of being the leader of Muslims, Muslim organization, and political parties? Isn't it strange that all the dargaah/mazaar also belongs to Syeds?
In the time of the British Raj some of the Indians were trained to be mental slaves of British rule, Indians by their skin but English in their thinking. This is how exactly Pasmanda Muslims were enslaved mentally by Ashraf Maulana. For many hundred years, Pasmand Muslims also didn't shy away from taking pride in following their fatwas and books. Though the literature of Ashrafs was demeaning towards Pasmanda society due to ignorance and servitude Pasmanda believed them to be the words of God with utmost reverence. 'Hindustan me jaat paat aur musalman', a book written by Maulana Masood Alam Falahi, is a milestone work for Pasmanda literature. This book has given new dynamics to the power struggle between Ashraf and Pasmanda by uplifting the discourse from an ideological level to a psychological level. Mind it, our psychology profusely defines our behaviour. For instance - Syedism/Brahmanism refers to an ideology, and this ideology shapes the culture of casteism, untouchability, and Varna system. But in the last two centuries, we observe a gradual ideological shift towards Bahujanwaad and Dalit consciousness and that is the reason for psychological changes that defy the idea of Brahmanism and its core of divinity.
The struggle against supremacy originates from the state of Idea. And the Idea of castism in Islam proposed in a book written by Maulana Masood Alam Falahi became the reason for restlessness among Ashrafs because it challenged the idea of ashraf's supremacy. Before this, Pasmanda Maulanas were only supposed to read and follow the books of Ashraf, not to challenge their absurd logic. Whenever Brahmins face such social reforming movements against the caste system in past, they incorporated those reforms in a way to pacify the sudden uprising and become more formidable than ever as well. Likewise, Ashrafs has one option either to gulp the Pasmanda challenge down to the gut as it's the first time that Pasmanda intellectuals are taking a stand against their power politics or to blemish these intellectuals by declaring them as un-Islamic, by tagging them as agents of BJP/RSS and ultimately as an anti-social element for Muslim society. The existence of 'syedwad' has never been recognized because when you are enslaved mentally you refuse to acknowledge externally imposed dominance. You start believing that whatever system has been normalized for you, it's for your benefit. Now, this oppressive system converts into your belief system.
First and foremost we have to awaken Pasmandas from this long spiritual enslavement of their mind against Syedism. Second, caste is an issue of society as a whole regardless of religious identity so unlike Hinduism Muslims don't have that aggression towards Islam and it's irrational to find any solution in being atheist or converting to any other religion. One can have faith in Islam and can pursue social order without caste hierarchy per se. Lastly, we cannot imagine strengthening any movement or revolution until and unless we gain victory over the unjustified ideology of established authority through the caste consciousness.
Abdullah Mansoor is a teacher, a Pasmanda activist and proprieter of YouTube channel PASMANDA DEMOcracy. His views are personal.